So tell us a little about your background and how you first got involved in birding:
Started birding early, at 10 years old, and still going strong. Favorite bird is the Baltimore Oriole. Most interested in the ecology and conservation aspects of ornithology.
I am a self-taught birder. Most of what I have learned has come from tagging along with more knowledgeable birders and sponging what I can from them in the field. I participate in Big Days, Breeding Bird Surveys, and I particularly enjoy leading nature hikes when time permits.
I have long been an active member of local Audubon societies, including in New York State, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. I worked as an ecologist at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, Miss.
How did you come to join WSO?
I became aware of and interested in WSO by volunteering to help the outgoing grants coordinator, Michael John Jaeger, review and choose recipients for the 2015 awards. While reviewing the proposals, I realized just how many bright and talented groups and individuals are out there conducting or hoping to initiate projects to further our understanding of the avian world.
As the new Scholarships and Grants Committee chair, my goal is to continue my predecessor's efforts to provide financial support to the...most innovative and promising of proposals. Through this approach, I aim to further the current body of knowledge regarding the avifauna of Wisconsin, including identification of sensitive bird populations.
Tell us a bit about your education.
I earned my B.S. in Environmental Science with minors in chemistry and geography from Mansfield University in Mansfield, Penn., in 2001.
I also acquired an M.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Applied Ecology from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington in 2005.
Since graduating in 2005, I have worked in the field of environmental impact statement preparation-- first at the federal level as a National Environmental Policy Act analyst in the Washington, D.C., region, and currently as a WEPA analyst for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
What is your work?
I focus mainly on assessing environmental impacts of large scale utility projects. I conduct my own independent impact analysis and then consult with other state agencies to determine the impact a proposed project could have on our natural resources-- including wetlands, waterways, archeological resources, and sensitive species.
What other fascinations do you have?
I love studying all aspects of nature. I take an opportunity to add to my understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Recently, I completed a week-long field course focusing on the vegetation of Wisconsin through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station near Saukville. We traveled around the state studying a wide variety of floristic provinces.
I also enjoy fishing whenever I can. Mostly from my kayak on the Yahara Chain after a hard day's work before the weekend crowd gathers. Since moving to Madison in 2012, I have fished most of the lakes on the chain, although I have yet to catch my first musky from my kayak, which I think will prove interesting to say the least.
What aspects of birding and WSO interest you the most?
I joined WSO, in part, to help increase awareness of current threats to Wisconsin bird populations. By participating in WSO activities such as awarding grants to deserving applicants, assisting with fund raising to purchase and preserve lands, and general public outreach, I hope to effect a positive change during my tenure on the board.